Oct 032017
 

This post contains affiliate links.


If you haven’t tried Swagbucks before, you can get a bonus $3 for signing up during October as part of their Three for Fall promotion. Swagbucks is a rewards site where you earn points (called SB) for things you’re probably doing online already, like searching, watching videos, discovering deals, and taking surveys. Then you take those points and exchange them for gift cards to places like Amazon, Starbucks, Walmart, Target, or PayPal cash.

In all, during the month of September, I earned 2,516 SB.  That is enough to redeem for a $25 gift card or money through PayPal, and still have some SB left over.

Why am I so excited about Swagbucks?  Because I have used this site for years and earned many a gift card through them.  Some years it was used to help purchase gifts, while other years it was used for ordering grocery items online.

This year I have used Swagbucks to help offset home school materials and was looking to purchase a rain barrel for our home.  However, circumstances changed suddenly, more on that later, and it was used to purchase grocery items from Amazon.com instead.

When you sign up through me this month, you can earn a $3 bonus! Here’s how:

1. Sign up using this link

2. Earn 300 SB total before 11/1/17. You’ll get a $3 (300 SB) bonus for it!

3. If you want even more bonuses, you’ll get a $10 (1000 SB rebate) bonus for making your first shop purchase! That’s in addition to the SB you earn for every dollar you spend.

If you are not sure how to earn 300 SB, take a look at this post where I earned 300 SB in two days’ time, without having purchased anything.

 

Apr 042017
 


It’s April, and Swagbucks has an early Easter treat in the form of a $5 bonus! Swagbucks is a rewards site where you earn points (called SB) for things you’re probably doing online already, like searching, watching videos, discovering deals, and taking surveys. Then you take those points and exchange them for gift cards to places like Amazon, Starbucks, Walmart, Target, or PayPal cash.

When you sign up through me this month, you can earn a $5 bonus! Here’s how:

1. Sign up using this link

2. Earn 300 SB total before 5/1/17. You’ll get a $3 (300 SB) bonus for it! (Don’t worry, I will help you know about ways to reach this goal as the month goes on.  However, it is very possible to reach this goal within a day or two.)

3. If you spend at least $25 through Swagbucks Shop* you’ll get another $2 (200 SB) bonus on top of the cash back you’ll get from shopping. If you have some shopping to do online, just go to Swagbucks first and visit the store through them. It doesn’t cost you anything extra, but you’ll get SB points for every dollar you spend (on top of the bonus)!

That’s it. It’s super easy, and Swagbucks is for real. I use it myself, and earned 1753 SB ($17) last month – even with a week away from home for Spring Break and another week away from the computer due to health reasons.

I added those SB with some remaining from the previous month to redeem for a $25 Amazon gift card.  Part of that gift card was used yesterday to purchase a school book for next year and part was used this morning for a small gift and a new wallet for my husband. Shhh, it’s a surprise!

I am already on my way to earning my next gift card; though this month I might put some of it into PayPal. This morning’s survey, To-do List, and nGage activities have already netted me 204 SB ($2).  It may not be a lot by itself, but added together, it is a nice extra each month.

*You must receive your shopping SB before June 1st.

Mar 162017
 

life is a series of experiences henry ford quote

This week finds us out of the house quite a bit.  So, I thought I would take the opportunity to look back at some posts from the past.

One thing that stuck out to me was the difference in weather between years, even though all these posts are from March.

Another theme I noticed is that I often posted about food.  That may have to do with the first things that stood out to me – the weather.

Soon it had been over three weeks and I had not even begun looking for a new stove or coming to a decision as to repair it.

Living Without An Oven – This phase was actually easier than I thought, though it did take some thinking.  We were also blessed, several months in, with a $1 toaster oven find at a local garage sale.  That toaster oven even moved with us, as I came to find it useful for different situations.

Once the warm weather comes, I would rather be focusing on outside rather than stuck inside doing these things.

30 Days, 21 Projects – It is amazing how all the little things around the house can be put off numerous times.  Suddenly, no matter where you turn there is something glaring at you that needs to be done.  Having a plan of attack, and a deadline, helps you realized the list is not never-ending.  It also gives you a sense of being in control rather than being controlled by your stuff.

I didn’t plant all the tomato seeds I had, but I got 75 of them started.

Weekly Goals – March 18, 2012 – Not only is it interesting to look back and see what was happening at this time in years past, but you may also be reminded of things you used to do and can do again.  While I will not be starting seeds indoors this spring, I hope to do it again in the future.  I also learned that I did not need 75 tomato seedlings.  Live and learn.

At first $4.30 didn’t seem like a lot to Mr. Arends, but by the end of the 6-weeks time frame, he had learned several lessons.

Comparing The Numbers – Before making statements about what can or can not be done, it is a good idea to take a look at the reality of your situation.

Last week he spent over 6 hours across several days working with cardboard and duct tape.

This Week in School, practical life skills – the above quote would be called a STEM activity in public school.  At home, it was called free time.  This post highlighted a season where Jack really did not respond well to sitting to learn.  While we were following Charlotte Mason’s methods, I had not fully implemented them, nor researched them.  So some items, like short lessons, were in play, there were other things I was learning on my own.  I am still not fully doing what she recommends, but we are getting closer.

Feb 222017
 

This post contains affiliate links.

yoga ball get paid

Swagbucks has been a great source of extra money over the past few years.  If you have read my blog for any length of time, I am sure you have picked up on how much I like them.

The flexibility in ways to earn has been the biggest draw for me.  There have been times when I am frankly short on time, and others when I have a lot of time to spend looking around and trying out new things.

Watching video clips is one of the easiest ways for me to earn gift cards by redeeming points, called SB.  Not only can I find clips on subjects that interest me, but I can also learn about new things.  The videos can run while I type up a blog post, fold laundry, do the dishes, or help a child with homework/school work.

Watching videos on my phone makes it even easier and portable. When I find a video I like, it can be saved to my favorites for me to watch again. (This is the easiest and fastest way to find certain videos at some point in the future.)

Modification of several yoga and  Pilates moves are also used in our home for sensory activities and exercise with the kids.  Each kid reacts differently to the movements, which takes trial and error to find the ones that might work best for you.

There are several ways for you to watch video clips to earn SB – via the Swagbucks website and via several apps on your phone. (Even if you are an international user!)  The apps are free to download. 

Below is a list of video I have come across on one app – Sportly.tv. (They were current as of the writing of this post)  You can earn 18 SB per day using this Swagbucks app.

Jack had a blast going through these with me.  Several were stopped so we could both try them.  Again. And Again. And Again.

Sportly.tv

  • Common Meditation Mistakes 2:20
  • How To Do Incline Dumbbell Bench Press 0:51
  • Fitness Through Sensual Dance – Spiderman Move 0:52
  • Weights on Trampoline 1:14
  • Kundalini Yoga – Dyamic Cobra Pose 1:25
  • Olympic Buses Transporting Athletes Gets Lost For Hours 1:04
  • How To Do Crab Walks 0:30
  • Man With Cerebral Palsy Competes in Races With Brother’s Help 1:09
  • How To Do Pilates Neck Pull Exercise 1:50
  • How To Do Standing Shoulder Press 0:50
  • Belly Dancing: Snake Arms 3:22
  • How To Do Lunges 0:54
  • How To Do Yoga Knees to Chest Pose 1:09
  • Circus Exercise: V Ups Exercise 0:45
  • How To Perform Wellness Bridge  0:42
  • How To Perform Egyptian Stretch 0:30
  • Riot Erupts at Wheelchair Basketball Game 1:03
  • How To Do Yoga Standing Forward Fold Pose 0:54
  • Plank To Downward Dog 0:44
  • 70-Year-Old Qualifies for Olympics 1:23
  • Sumo Wrestlers – 10 Amazing Facts 1:24
  • Pilates Swan On The Roller 2:05
  • What is Doga? 1:34
  • Goal of Meditation 1:06
  • Pilates: Thera Band Arms 4:28
  • Pilates Footwork on the Roller 2:20
  • Squats on a Smith Machine with Medicine Ball 0:51
  • How To Do Kettlebell Swing 0:45
  • Pilates: Lower Lift with Magic Circle 4:40
  • Yoga – Revolved Side Angle Pose 1:07
  • Circus Exercises: Tuck on the Trapeze 1:13
  • Overhead Exercise with Dumbbells 0:43
  • Airport Security Confiscates Kids’ Tennis Rackets 1:13
  • Eating Tips Before Running 0:39
  • Belly Dancing: Chest Isolations 2:56
  • How To Do Pilates Open Leg Rocker Exercise 2:12
  • Food Art: Sports Themed Strawberries 2:00
  • Early Swimming For Kids Leads to Better Academic Performance 1:02
  • Strict Diet Guidelines for Chinese 1:04
  • Side to Side Obliques with Medicine Ball 1:05
  • Wheelchair Bodybuilders Inspire Others 1:11
  • How To Do Yoga Fish Pose 1:19
  • How To Do Pilates Teaser Exercise 1:14
  • How To Do Knee Plank Curls 0:42
  • 30 Minute Beach Workout 6:21
  • Yoga – Dancer Pose Easy Variation 0:57
  • Fitness Through Sensual Dance – Thigh High Move 0:51
  • Beach Workout Tips 1:59
  • Russian Olympic Volleyball Coach Commits Suicide 1:03
  • Yoga – Side Plank Intermediate 0:56
  • Advanced Contortion Moves: Lever 0:59
  • Self-Defense Workout: Push Kick 1:30
  • Kundalini Yoga – Dynamic Bow Pose 1:35
  • Pilates Scissors on the Roller 1:48
  • Hula Hoop Upper Body Workout 1:05
  • French Open – 10 Uncommon Facts 1:19
  • Designer Proposes Trampoline Walkway 1:05
  • Pilates Single Leg Stretch on the Roller 1:57
  • How To Do Yoga Triange Pose 0:53
  • Kundalini Yoga – Spinal Rotation 1:34
  • 15 Minute Beach Workout 4:39
  • Fitness Through Sensual Dance – Lotion Motion 1:05
  • How To Perform Bicep Stretch 0:33
  • How To Do Explosive Jump Squat 0:30
  • Circus Exercises: Frog Sequence On The Rope 1:33
  • How To Do Yoga Eagle Pose 1:07
  • How To Perform Neck Rotation Exercise 0:37
  • Yoga – Cow Face Pose Easy Variation 1:40
  • Tai Chi: Strike Ears with Fist 0:59
  • Seated Dumbbell Knee Raise 0:45
  • How To Perform Front Leg Kicks 0:30
  • Pilates Open Leg Rocker on the Roller 2:00
  • How To Do Pilates Spine Twist Exercise 1:40
  • Yoga Side Plank 0:52
  • How To Do Pilates Swimming Exercise 2:15
  • Plank on Bosu 1:16
  • A New Hot Sport Due To Booming Skyscrapers 1:14
  • Tricep Dips with Yoga Ball 0:53
  • How To Do Standing Shoulder Press 0:50
  • 5 Types of Sports in German 0:47
  • How Can Mediation Reduce Stress? 2:27
  • Self-Defense Workout: Bump Escape From A Bear Hug 1:51
  • Yoga – Shoulder Stand 1:11
  • Belly Dancing: Figure 8 2:55
  • Pole Dancing For Fitness 1:27

 

Jan 102017
 

This post contains affiliate links.

At the end of 2016/beginning of 2017 I did not write down official New Year’s Resolutions.  Instead, I spent December reflecting back on this past year and all the craziness it held, trying to get a grasp of it all:

  • the conclusion of a 2-year home remodel, which I initially thought would take 6 months (we saved thousands of dollars, though in exchange it took a lot longer)
  • my husband graduating with his MBA, going to class at night while working during the day
  • the subsequent job change
  • parenting for several months on my  own
  • and a move to a place with no current support network.

Not only did we move, but we moved into a rental house; a temporary situation we decided previously was a good decision while we learn the area.

Reflecting back on the year, there was a lot to take in.  My reality from this time a year ago till today is vastly different.  A year ago, I could not have even guessed we would be at the point we are now.

How am I then to look forward a year and know anything at all about what will happen?

I can’t.  I couldn’t if I tried.

5-love-languages-of-children

What I can do is think of habits or areas of life I would like to work on, setting myself up for success, hopefully, no matter what the future holds.  Here are a few of the areas I would like to work on this year:

  • Putting the “home” part back into “homemaking”.  Increasing the laughter in our home, decreasing the ‘stuff’, making it feel calm and uncluttered, these are all areas which need improvement and would provide beneficial results in other areas.
  • Being more consistant in use of my early morning hours – writing blog posts, visiting Swagbucks, getting a load of laundry ready to begin washing, etc.  Along with this would be going to be at a decent time, so as to be able to wake up at 5 a.m.  While it may seem early to some of you, I really do like those early hours better than the late one; I am more productive during those times.
  • Planning ahead consistently for those normal life events – whether this is a meal plan, a school lesson plan for the month, or a plan for when to do laundry, having these aides in place will reduce the amount of decisions I need to make every day.  I will gladly take any extra brain power I can get.  My consistancy this past year with these areas would ebb and flow, depending on what else was weighing on my emotions and calendar.  I want to get back to setting aside certain days or times for these events, rather than doing them as they happen to pop into my head.
  • Challenging myself to do some of the things which have scared me, things outside my comfort zone but which really are more ‘new’ than ‘scary’.  Or even things I have for too long said, “I am not good at that … This is an area I am really bad at..”  While I may never be someone to dive to the deepest trench in the ocean or become president (of the country or of a large business), that does not mean I should not continue to challenge myself.
  • Be more optimistic in terms of how I view myself.  Okay, maybe “optimistic” is not the appropriate word; what I do know is that I often find myself referring to negative aspects of my personality or apologizing for things which others may not even notice.  Instead of working to improve, I am so focused on my failures I miss what is going past.  Instead of sharing sunshine and flowers with others, I am focused on how I scuffed the floor last time.  Who cares about the floor?!  Move on, already!  Open the windows and let some sunshine in!  (Enough, I will stop with the exclamation marks.)

In general, I want to get back to the roots of who I am, of who I want to be.  That is something I feel I have lost these past several years while feeling, instead, like I was only trying to survive the day/week/season of life.

While I hesitate to call anything a “New Year’s Resolution”, to set a theme for the year, or to give myself yet another thing to feel guilty over, there are items which happen to be starting now.  This is in large part to due to the timing of the move, no more home remodel going on, or that fact that my normal month to feel this way (November) had enough of its own going-ons that it did not need any more.

One of the items under “Challenging myself to do things I said I couldn’t” is to get down a routine with Swagbucks, and other similar sites, in order to not only pay for this next year’s home school supplies, but also the cost of hosting this blog and gardening supplies, albeit limited compared to years’ past.  I do not have set number on hand right at the moment, though I will begin to gather them soon.  What I do know is that all together this will come to a few hundred dollars.  ($100 being the equivalent of 10,000 points, called SB).

Whatever activities I choose to do, in order to earn SB, will have to fit into my normal life.  I can not take an hour or two every day to sit clicking a screen, babysitting a point counter.  This is where having a smart phone has helped.

rotary phone with border

Years ago, my husband suggested we switch from our flip phone to a ‘smart’ phone, I bulked.  We no longer were on a set contract with our service provider, the phone we had made good calls, and if I wanted to see the internet, I would use a computer. “If someone wants me, they can call.  At least they should be polite enough to think me worthy of a few minutes talk time rather than a quick note written in bad english.” (a.k.a texting)  Why spend hundreds of dollars for something I found caused people to be rude and annoying. I did not need a ‘smart’ phone.  I did not want a ‘smart’ phone.

Then my husband came home with information about a phone service provider option.  All my reasons for not doing it began to pale in comparison to the cost savings.  We could save 60% on our phone bill. Each month.  No contract.

After discussions back and forth, running the numbers to see how long before we would be saving money, we became the owners of a ‘smart’ phone.  It took some time for me to figure out how this new gadget in my life might begin to work for me, rather than against me.  And, yes, texting has won me over for the most part.

Using my phone to help me earn and save money has been one of the best features I have enjoyed.  It has taken some time, but I have found things that work well for me.  I have also found things that did not work, but they are no longer on my phone and so I do not really remember what they all were. 😉

christmas-tree-baden-springs

Now that the holidays are over, a lot of us have gone into savings mode again as we rebuild our bank accounts from all that gift buying! Some of us have already started saving for the 2017 holidays! If you’re looking to extend your budget or just stay within it, Swagbucks is a great resource for that.

You’ve probably seen me write about Swagbucks a lot on here. It’s a site where you earn SB for things you’re probably doing online already, like searching, watching videos, discovering deals, and taking surveys. Then you take those points and exchange them for gift cards to places like Amazon, Starbucks, Walmart, Target, or PayPal cash.

While you may not grow so rich you lose the sense of the value of a dollar, it can help ease your budget. Whether you use it to pay for today’s needs (utility bill, groceries, restaurant outing …) or tomorrow’s wants (rainy day fund, Christmas/birthday gifts, …)

To make the impact on your bank account even greater, you can earn a bonus when you initially sign up.

Here’s how you get your bonus:

1. Sign up using this link

2. Earn 300 SB total before 2/1/17. You’ll get a $3 (300 SB) bonus for it!

3. If you spend at least $25 through Swagbucks Shop* you’ll get another $2 (200 SB) bonus on top of the cash back you’ll get from shopping. If you have some shopping to do online, just go to Swagbucks first and visit the store through them. It doesn’t cost you anything extra, but you’ll get SB points for every dollar you spend (on top of the bonus)!

That’s it. It’s super easy, and Swagbucks is for real.

So far this month, during the past 10 days, I have earned over $10 (1033 points).  This has been spread out between points earn for shopping online, a lot of video watching, several surveys answered, daily polls, bonuses for reaching daily goals, bonuses for finishing my Daily To-do list (on the left side of the home page), searching the web, and Swag Codes.

As I have begun to incorporate it into my daily routines, I have learned what works for me and what does not.  For example, I do better at finding surveys in the morning.  It also helps for me to start with a search first thing, followed by the other items on the To Do list.  After that, I focus on watching SBTV on my phone, then short clips on other apps.
LEGO Indiana Jones 2: The Adventure Continues (Sony PlayStation 3, 2009)Combining earning from this month and some from last, I was able to redeem for a PayPal gift card, which was then used to pay for several items on Ebay. (The particular item shown definitely falls into the category of A Want.)  Of course, I clicked through on Swagbucks before finalizing the purchase on Ebay and will earn more SB back in the near future.  Every penny counts, and soon they begin to add up.

*You must receive your shopping SB before March 1st